The Corner

Private Cheer, Public Gloom

David Brooks’s column this morning is definitely on to something. And it also suggests that this political moment offers far less of a sure thing for the Democrats than they seem to believe. Americans happy with their lives but unhappy with their government and the state of the world are not a natural Democratic constituency, after all. Republicans are far better positioned to speak to this combination of attitudes, on a range of issues (like health care, where exactly this combination of attitudes seems to be at play; or a broader array of subjects where speaking to optimistic strivers about large problems could pay off). If only they had something to say.

I’m certainly prejudiced in this direction, so take it with a  grain of salt, but it seems to me that the policy wonk portion of this campaign on the Republican side has been taking too long to get started, and threatens to be far too thin. Done right, it could be important and effective.

Yuval Levin is the director of social, cultural, and constitutional studies at the American Enterprise Institute and the editor of National Affairs.

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